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European Capital and Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism

ZAGREB – 2023 Shortlisted City

Capital of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb is a vibrant and exciting smart tourism destination with a modern and creative outlook on tourism.

A tourism experience within a green cityscape

With 769,944 inhabitants, Zagreb is the most populated city in Croatia. It nests in the central continental part of the country, on the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountains and on the banks of the Sava River. The city developed from two neighboring hills, Gradec and Kaptol, which form the core of today’s city and its historical centre. It is the urban economic engine in the country. Due to its history, Zagreb is rich in monuments and architecture, particularly from the Baroque style to the present day. It is also a green city, with around 15m2 of urban green area per capita, and over 120m2 in the Medvednica mountain area. The city streets and squares are interspersed with green spaces, visitors can enjoy the “Lenuci Horsehoe”, which includes a series of eight green squares, and the Botanical Garden which offers around 10,000 plant species. At the east of the city sits the Maksimir park, the biggest in Zagreb with picturesque 19th century pavilions and a zoo. All this makes the city one of the most attractive destinations in Croatia. In 2019, Zagreb set the record of 1.46 million tourist arrivals.

Zagreb 1.


Projects created for all and by all

The Croatian city is very active in various new cultural programmes and creative projects. One such is the “Ilica: Q’ART” project. The aim is to transform abandoned public spaces in the city centre, along Zagreb’s thoroughfare, Ilica, with the long-term goal of changing the urban experience through social engagement of artists, associations, universities, crafts, and citizens in the community. The main theme and artistic concept of the project is “Sustainable Future”, and it implies community engagement, along with a responsible attitude towards nature. Another example of the long-term strategic thinking is the “Kultura turizma” project, launched by the Zagreb Tourist Board in 2010. Every year, high school students design and implement tourism projects in coordination with project managers as extracurricular activities over one semester.

Zagreb 2.


Mobility made smart with Less cars, more bikes

The central part of Zagreb has a surface area of about 6.5km2, with 81,669m of car-free streets, and the city authorities plan to make the city centre a pedestrian zone and reduce traffic in the centre. For this purpose, Zagreb provides other sustainable forms of transport, including the public car sharing service Spin city and Pedicab and the Nextbike public bicycle system. With currently nearly 500km of bicycle zones, Zagreb wants to encourage people to use this form of transport. It is the only city that has dedicated a whole month to the popularisation of cycling: since 2018, May is celebrated as “Žbicanj”. The project includes trainings, discussions, workshops, etc. aiming to increase public environmental awareness, and promote a healthy lifestyle. To further contribute to sustainability, street sweepers in Zagreb use 15 electric bikes while working in the very centre.

Zagreb 3.


Typhlological Museum – Accessibility at the heart of it

The city of Zagreb is committed to making the city as accessible as possible for everybody. Examples of innovation in accessibility for people with disabilities include the Typhlological Museum. It is one of the few museums in Europe focused on issues experienced by persons with disabilities, with a focus on the visually impaired. The museum respects diversity and promotes solidarity. It invites visitors to participate in the visual, olfactory, and tactile experiences on offer.